THC vs TAC: Everything You Need To Know

If you are familiar with CBD and cannabis products then you are probably already familiar with what THC is and what it does. You might not, however, know what TAC is, as this kind of information is often unwittingly restricted to those more well-informed fans of cannabis products.

The issue is, if you have ever bought a cannabis product, you might have noticed that it says TAC on the label, and as a responsible consumer, you might want to make sure what you are getting is what you really want.

This is why we have devised this definitive guide, where you can finally put to rest these doubts on the back of your mind. So let us see - what are these compounds, and what do they do?

What Are THC And TAC?

We will start with the better known chemical, THC. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. You might also see THC described as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-THC. THC is the cannabinoid that is the most present in the marijuana plant.

Medicinal cannabis with extract oil in a bottle

It is also the chemical that gives you that stereotypical high (meaning it is a psychoactive compound, for those who would like the proper scientific nomenclature). There are also some health benefits that have been credited to THC, such as:

  • Reducing pain
  • Reducing muscle spasticity
  • Treating glaucoma
  • Treating insomnia
  • Increasing appetite
  • Decreasing nausea
  • Managing anxiety

It is also important to note that there are some side effects that can occur from taking THC - although it would be unfair not to mention that these are often quite manageable and have not been found to lead to serious injury or death. Generally speaking, THC is considered a very safe substance by the medical community.

The only issues that may arise might stem from getting your products from dubious sources that do not properly vet their products. This is why this guide is important - learning how to read labels will make you a more informed and more responsible consumer, and it will surely decrease the risks of these side effects even happening to you at all.

Still, here are the different effects that you can get from ingesting a large amount of active THC:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Coordination problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Slower reaction times
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety

As you can see, these are all very manageable side effects. If you notice any of them, just make sure to drink some water and get to a safe place. In order to check how much THC there is in a product so you can make sure you never go over your limit, you have to learn how to read the label.

While you can see the THC level in the label usually (and if you do not see it, you should likely not purchase the product as it may not be very high quality), this might often not mean that is all the THC there is. This is because of THCA, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.

This is a precursor to delta-9-THC and may turn into THC after the decarboxylation process. The decarboxylation process is the process through which THCA loses the acidic part of its molecular structure when it is under heat. This means that if you heat up your THC product, you might be creating more THC from THCA.

For the sake of prevention, if you know your THC product will be heated, maybe lowball your THC content limit just in case the total THC levels are actually higher than what you were looking for there. You can also look for THCA in the label and add the two numbers up to make sure it adds to what you know you are able to take safely.

Alright, finally on to TAC. TAC stands for Total Active Cannabinoid, which unsurprisingly means that it stands for all of the active cannabinoids found in a product at the time of lab testing, which can be quite a lot of them. Marijuana can contain cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenoids, alkaloids, glycoproteins, and even more.

There are more than 400 compounds in a marijuana plant, and around 100 of these are cannabinoids. While there is absolutely no time in this article to talk about all of them, we will briefly cover the most important as well as the most famous ones, which are:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)

So now that we know the basic definitions of both of these compounds, we should learn about what sets them apart. What do they each do and how is it any different? How do they benefit from each other's presence (if at all)? Let us find out.

What Are The Differences Between THC And TAC?

Do you know that whole thing you learned in math class about a square being a rectangle but a rectangle not being a square? Well, the same logic applies here, essentially. While THC is in essence a part of TAC, TAC is not a part of THC. TAC is then THC plus all of the other active cannabinoids, that can be in the triple digits.

The hard-to-quantify nature of TAC makes it hard for us to also compare both THC and TAC properly and fairly. In practice, this means that you can use both these compounds for two different things. If you are looking for the psychoactive, or high element of a product, then it would be smarter for you to look at THC levels (and of course, as we mentioned above, THCA levels as well).

This is because THC binds to the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in your brain in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). At the same time, if you are just looking at the general potency of your product, then you would be wise to look at the TAC levels. This way, you will get a fuller picture of all the stuff that you can find in your product.

What Is The Relationship Between THC And TAC Compounds?

Within the Total Active Cannabinoids, or TAC, there is a compound that you may have already heard of - CBD. CBD is probably the most famous compound of marijuana after THC, and it might actually be able to counteract THC’s well-known psychoactive effects. This can be especially useful if you are prone to feeling the side effects of THC more often than other people.

This means that if you look into your products TAC levels, and within it its CBD levels, you may be able to subdue some of the euphoria or anxiety that people often experience with THC products.At the same time, since CBD has neuroprotective elements, it can also help you reduce the side effects you get from THC altogether.

How Do THC And TAC Affect Each Other?

There is a concept that you may have already heard of before, but not quite understood. It is often used in the context of cannabis products, but it is not always explained, and not many people actually know what it means. This concept is called the entourage effect.

It basically describes when active cannabinoids in a cannabis product interact with each other and consequently make each other more potent, or more effective. This is not all. We know that TAC stands for total active cannabinoids, but that is not all that you will have in your product. You will also have terpenes and flavonoids and other kinds of compounds that will interact with each other to create a more all-encompassing final effect.

While it is still good to experience the benefits of each cannabinoid individually, it is even better to have them all together. As an example, we can take CBD and CBG. While neither of these is able to do this on their own, together, CBD and CBG are able to inhibit MRSA. MRSA is a bacterial staph infection that can become a nuisance or even dangerous.

This effect has also been found to be more effective if there is also the presence of the terpene pinene. This is a great example of how different compounds work together to make each other better and more effective, proving the benefits of the entourage effect.

How Do THC And TAC Benefit From Each Other’s Presence?

This is a bit of a loaded question, since there is still so much that we do not know about the interactions between the different kinds of cannabinoids. We do know, however, that the overwhelming majority of the reactions for taking full spectrum products (products with various kinds of cannabinoids) is actually quite positive.

However, you can always keep searching to try to find the best combination for whatever it is that you are trying to treat or help by taking cannabis products. We will still make sure to give you a list below of the most common cannabinoids and what they do so you can mix and match.

What Are Some Examples of TAC Uses?

As we promised, here is a summarized list of all the benefits that the most major cannabinoids can give you. The fact that this is not a complete list should not keep you from looking into other compounds if you feel that you need to. This is unfortunately not something that can be taught in full in such a short article. But here we go anyway!

As always, do not forget about the entourage effect and what this may do to each of these individual compounds when they are acting together. As you will notice, almost all of these compounds have an anti-inflammatory property, meaning that all of them acting together will most likely bring out this capability even more in all of them and prove extra effective.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

As we mentioned earlier in this article, CBD is probably the most well-known cannabinoid after THC. CBD is also the second most abundant active ingredient in the cannabis plant, although unlike THC, it does not feature any psychoactive effects. It is sold in many different ways, such as tinctures, topicals, and oils.

This is not to say that it does not feature significant health benefits. A lot of people use CBD to help with issues such as PTSD, anxiety and depression (through neurotransmitter stimulation), as well as physical issues such as insomnia, chronic pain, excess acne, and others.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is also known for having pain management abilities (by reducing inflammation) as well as antibacterial effects. It is also used as a skin care product. There is a lot of research that still needs to be done on this compound but so far it has shown to have promising effects on your body.

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBN is made through the oxidation as well as the decomposition of the THC molecules, which means that the older your plant is, the more CBN it will have. It has been known to help with sleep regulation, bone healing, as well as anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. It could also help regulate and stimulate your appetite.

Cannabigerol (CBG)

CBG is known for being another compound that may decrease the psychoactive capabilities of THC (in a similar way to CBD).

Branches of Medical Marijuana with flower bud sites isolated on black with the CBG Cannabigerol letters and chemical structure

CBG has also been shown to have pain relieving properties, aid in cognitive function, help with anxiety and depression, and even improve eye health.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

This one requires even more research than the others mentioned above. What we do know about CBDV is that it may help you delay memory loss, prevent and treat inflammation, pain, and nausea, as well as help with the symptoms of epilepsy.

How Do I Find The Best Products?

Now that you are armed with all this valuable information, let us get back to the labels again for a second before you go, because they certainly are key to finding and buying the best products. It will also be genuinely satisfying to go to a store or look online at a product and realize that you know and understand exactly what the label is trying to tell you.

You will surely feel like an expert, as you should. This is what every single cannabis product in dispensaries must have in order to be considered a high-quality product:

  • The product grower
  • The strain of the product
  • The Sativa or Indica class of the plant
  • The independent lab tester
  • The date of testing
  • The legal information you should know based on the manufacturer’s state
  • The overall chemical makeup of the product

Final Thoughts

We hope that this article has helped you dive into the world of cannabis just a little bit more informed. You may have already known quite a lot of what was discussed, or nothing at all. Either way, since we have made it to the end, we can feel good knowing that we are doing our best to be the best informed cannabis users that we can be.

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